Saturday, December 3, 2016

Security! Special Order!

The spousal unit loves to shop.  One of her favorite stores is Macys.  Problem is, there isn't one very close by.  We either go to Memphis, Atlanta, or New Orleans for her to get her Macys fix.

Last year she couldn't wait for a trip, so she hit the internet and placed a Macys order and picked up a few items  she and my buddy Clarence were able to find.  The items arrived, just what she wanted, with one problem.

One of the tops that she ordered still had the security tag on it.  She was sceered to pop it off, for fear of a dye explosion.  And she knew better than to let me at it!  There was no way she was going to take it to Belk or Kohls to see if they could remove it.  She decided to just wait, and take it to one of the Macys stores on our next trip.

Lots of trips came and went, but she could never remember to bring that top with her.  Fast forward, one year later.

We are in the Macys in Kenner, LA, at the old Esplanade Mall.  The spousal unit takes her top to the checkout counter.  She tells them her story, bought online a year ago, and still has the security tag on it.

The Macys gals listen intently.  They look at her ID, they take her credit card, and then look at the security tag.  Their machine doesn't work on that kind of tag.  They updated their tagging system over six months ago!  They do mention that it doesn't have the dye pack in it, and we could have popped it off at home. (Remember, somebody wouldn't give me a shot at it!)

The Macys gals make a phone call to some dude in the Macys dungeon.  They explain the story to him.  The guy walks up, with a printout of the original online receipt. He says that he has one of the older tag removers in his office.  He grabs the top, and off he goes!

 The guy is covered in tattoos.  I ask if he is the maintenance man or something? The Macys gals reply "oh no!  He is the chief of Security!"  I replied "I bet he was tired of looking at cameras all day and was ready to get out of his box and stretch his legs!

The Macys gals got a good laugh out of that, replying "ha!  Not this time of year!"  Yesterday he busted a woman.  She entered the store wearing shorts and a tshirt and was trying to leave wearing three coats, claiming they were hers!

The Dude returns, with security tag removed.  Spousal unit is happy.  I told the Dude I'd be waving at him in the mirrors on future trips!

Dang!  A day in the life of Security!  Special order!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Momma Melton

I fell in love with an older woman this past weekend.  I've never met her, much less seen her, except for the magic that comes through her hands.

Momma Melton came for a visit this weekend with her son Derrel and daughter in law Sherri.  She arrived in the form treats she sent along with them for the weekend we shared.

Derrel and Sherri are friends we met this summer while beaching in Marco Island Florida.  Derrel is one of the biggest football fans I've ever met, and he pulls for Georgia Southern.  We could tell this from his tshirts, his beach umbrella and everything else you could put a college logo on.  Turns out, his team would be playing the spousal unit's Rebels in November.   We befriended each other on FB, and initial plans were set for them to join our tailgate!

During our time at the beach, I shared some of my cheese straws.  Sherri mentioned that her mother in law was famous for her catering, which included her cheese straws.

During the summer, the Spousal unit finally got her condo in that town up north (Oxford).  We finalized plans for Derrel and Sherri to join us during their stay.

Sherri challenged me to a taste test, my cheese straws vs Momma Melton's special catering recipe.  I accepted the challenge, and prepared three different versions, knowing at least one of them would be the eventual winner!

I use a food processor to mix it all up, them squeeze them out of a pampered Chef cookie press.  A lot of love goes into every twist of that press!

Sherri brings out a small metal tin.  It's lined with shrink wrap, and filled with cheese straws filled with more love than you could ever imagine.  We pretty much used the same ingredients, with the exception of my excessive use of cayenne pepper.  The biggest difference was apparent from first sight.  This little ole lady had hand piped these creations.  It takes a special hand to do this because of the strength needed to push the cheese dough through the press!

Momma Melton won hands down, not only for the taste, but for the love that she passes on through her handiwork.  But she didn't stop at just cheesestraws!

Prior to the trip, Derrel mention that he would be bringing some of her apple tarts.  OMG!  These were made with the simplest of ingredients.  But wow.  Hand made crust, individually cut, stuffed, folded, crimped and baked.

She also sent her bacon wrapped cocktail weenies coated in brown sugar.  Saturday morning, these little puppies were the first thing to disappear!

Each sample of the items she sent reminded me of my grandmother.  She also delivered her love through the goodies she prepared in her kitchen.   I so remember her hands, not soft and tender, but rough and firm from all those years spent gardening and cooking at home and the school cafeteria.

Derrel's momma's cooking brought all those childhood memories back to me in a flash!  For that, I will be forever grateful :-).

Derrel and Sherri left for Georgia early yesterday morning.  Thankfully they left behind the leftover cheese straws and apple tarts.  And this was my breakfast treat:

Man, oh man, was it good!

So, next time you meet a stranger or two on the beach, invite them over for a football Saturday weekend.  You never know what they might bring!  Thank Derrel and Sherri for bringing Momma Melton to me!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Oh How I Love Football Saturdays

To me, it never gets old.  The teams don't matter, the score doesn't matter, and the weather certainly doesn't matter.

On this day, it was supposed to be the first day of cool temperatures. Lots dressed for the drop in temp, including me.  What we ended up with was a beautiful, cloudless, hot sunny day.  It was funny to see the same people that sat in the swelter of September, to then run for shade cover throughout the day.  As the sun made its journey west, the tailgate chair chain began its migration east, almost like the African wildibeast crossing the Seringetti plains!

The anticipated cooler weather also brought out the fall food offerings.  My buddy Keith brought his famous Louisiana gumbo.  To heat it, I brought my handy dandy Coleman gas fired crockpot.    A bragged so much on this fine tailgating necessity, that earlier in the week I tried to find them on the internet, so I could share in yet another "cool item" with the others.  But, sadly, Coleman has discontinued making them, and the two I located on Ebay were way over priced.

The gas fired crockpot tends to burn a wee bit too hot, so to compensate, I insert a small crock that is just the right size.  Ole Keith was concerned that I wouldn't get to temperature fast enough.  His gumbo was a bit on the cool side, so I reassured him that it was just a matter of time.  He wanted to pour his gumbo into the bigger pot, but knowing it was going to be me doing the cleanup, we stayed with my original plan.  In about an hour, ole Keith hollers "Bill, we got boil!"  Yes, success!   Time to bowl up!

I had brought a ladle for the spooning.  To our surprise, one of our tailgating newbies had used the ladle to scoop up rotel dip out of the chafing dish.  What!  No!!  Wait!  That's  breaking tailgating rule number 162, if you don't know, ask!!!  Velvet cheese in your gumbo, who ever heard!

This being the last weekend of October, we naturally had representation with a few crazies.  With our tailgating location at the corner of University Avenue and Grove Loop, we have the best location to watch the "you're busted" by the University Police taking care of business with the passerbys:


Here we have "Richard Simmons", busted for beer not matching his outfit




The local fan whose cooler "hit the bump in the road", cans everywhere, and not a drop to drink, all down the gutter


You gotta love gals walking from one party to another, with open container in hand

The gal with the pink funnel.  The funnel made it thru, but sadly, the beer was history





Yes, it's Octoberfest! But unfortunately, without this load of beer!


 Our tailgating crew was supposed to be small on this day, but you could not tell it by the crowd we ended up with.  The starving college kids made their appearance.  My choir director friend stopped by, after making the three hour trip to visit with her "band kid" for a couple of hours before making the return trip home.  My young buck preacher buddy stopped by for his football Saturday sugar cookie fix.

 Chef Kyle had his Kansas crew in tow for their requested return visit.  Their is something about those Kansas women.  I can't resist hugging them because they just smell so good!

  There were quite a few Auburn Tigers among us, and we even had a "retirement ceremony" for one of their chairs that bit the dust.  And our crew member Margaret was celebrating birthday number 51 with lots of her family in attendance!

Here are a few more pics from the day:
Margaret the birthday girl






 Chef Kyle in action


The Band began its pep rally, then lined up for its parade March to the Vaught.  As they made their turn for the stadium, that was our cue to pack up and follow the pied piper band on to victory land.

No win on this day in TSUN land.  The crowd quickly disbursed.  After two trips to the car and a stop to pick up my passengers, we too were on our way, back to our condo in "that town up north".  To our surprise,  Taco Hell had closed its dining room before 11:30, ugh!, drive thru only.  To heck with that.  Waffles and beer at the home place it will be!

The best thing yet, in a few short days we get to do it all over again!




Wednesday, September 28, 2016

60 is the new 40!

Yep, today is birthday number 60!

I was gonna spend it chilling by the pool at the Condo in the town up north, sipping on a few margaritas,  but hey, why spend it alone!   Instead I'll be working at the Roses in Pearl, then time will be spent in the kitchen making cheese straws and iced sugar cookies for another football Saturday this weekend!

Some ask, "why are you working?"  As I told my boss the other day, this ain't no real job.  I'm doing something I enjoy, I'm outside, sweating off some calories, and can take off any time I want.  Got nobody barking orders, no phone calls all day long, no 200 emails to read & delete, and no boss scheming 25 different ways to run me off!

This 60 thang is like being 40 again!  The first time around was a killer!  I wake up on Monday mornings fired up ready to attack the week instead of spending Sundays dreading the week that lies ahead!

The challenges for me now are so much different than before.  Toward the end of my working career, I was in one of those self improvement workshops, where you think "yeah, been here countless times, what am I going to do to kill the next six hours."  We were tasked to write down a business plan for the rest of our lives.  What do we enjoy doing the most, what is the most fulfilling things in our lives makes us the most happy.  I don't remember who the speaker was, but boy, for some reason, his words hit me.  Up until then, I had no clue what my personal goals in life were.

 Suddenly I had an awakening!  It was there all the time, covered up in all the stresses of this "give it to me now" world I was living in.  My goal in life was and is to "bring a little happiness to somebody each and every day!"

That is a pretty simple goal, you might think.  Hard to do when you are working in a job you no longer enjoy, along side others just doing it for the paycheck.

Attitude adjusted, I made up my mind it was time for a change.  Finish out the year end troll, then begin the process of finding something else to do with my life.  Another not so easy task, since I've only had three jobs in thirty years!  But then God sent me a messsenger!  That boss that was spending so much time trying to run me off finally gave up, he "eliminated my position"!

I signed all the nondisclosure documents, took my packet and headed to the door, only stopping by my office to pick up the only things I was allowed to take, two MSU Bulldawgs that my mom had given me.

As I turned the car out of the parking lot, I looked in the mirror and saw something I had not seen in a very long time, I was smiling!  The Lord works in mysterious ways.  Weeks before all I was seeing was darkness and gloom, but now, oh the sunny days ahead!

I was only 54.5 at the time.  And now at 60, I feel younger and more invigorated than ever.  I bring a smiling face and a positive attitude to each new day.  The people working at the Home Depots can't resist my charming personality, and eventually they begin to smile a bit and begin to greet me when I enter their store.

I try to leave restaurant and fast food workers in a happier mood than before they served me.

I have to admit, my "assembler job" was a challenge for my body.  Working on my feet on concrete is a killer.  Before, old age was setting in fast and hard.  After a few weeks, my body adjusted.  I didn't  lose much weight, but I have lost an inch or two, and a bunch of fat cells have turned to muscle, just a few!  And I do enjoy long soaks in a hot tub full of bubbles!

So,  it's never too late for a life change.  Whether it's job, or habits, you too can make a change.  But you gotta start somewhere, sometime, and trust me, it's NOW!

Life is so sweet!  Get out there and enjoy!



Sunday, September 18, 2016

Game Day Funnies

Me being a Bulldawg, but with the spousal unit in her beloved land in that town up north, there are always sights and sounds to behold on football Saturday.

I'm  in the parking lot.  There is this family of five, with one of those fold up red wagons, trying to rearrange there stuff on the wagon so it can make it up the hill.  I suggest they might want to bring some bungee cords with them next time.  As they begin their journey, two of the chairs fall off the top.  These are bag chairs.  The youngest, a boy around 12, says "Dad, why don't we just carry the chairs"?  Out of the mouths of babes!

People getting busted for "exposed beer containers" is always fun to watch.  A young feller was walking pround with his 12 pack of bottle Coronas.  The Popo stops him, gives him the riot act, and instructs him to start pouring them out.  The Dude was having trouble getting the tops off.  More words with the Popo.  During this distraction, the guys mom, or much older girly friend, proceeds to pick up the remaining bottles, put them in her bag, and take off before the Popo dude could figure out what happened.

Rain was in the forecast, it was a certainty.  Thankfully it held off making for a great day of football.  However, during one of the brief moments of rain, we look up, here comes this white convertible with the top down.  The high priestess was in the passenger seat, with her umbrella up, protecting that head full of hairspray.  I'm betting that when they eventual parked, they probably locked that sucker with the top down.



One of our UPD friends goes by the name "Possum".  He has been working game day Saturdays for over 20 years.  These days he mostly directs traffic then provides security in the stands.  Our tent is next to the one for University PD.  Ole Possum came over to visit and get a bite to eat.  The. He picked up this hat and put it on:


The Grove Has Its many traditions.  One is that one must dress up in one's Sunday's best.  Some of these gals have "Sunday's best" confused with "a hot time on Saturday Night".  Others have figured out that hey, with color of the day, we can just wear a team jersey and not go for broke buying the latest fashions!

My buddy Kyle lives and breathes TSUN.  If a store has an item with "Ole Miss" on it, he has to have it.  This weekend was powder blue weekend.  Ole Kyle ended up at the Rebel store with money to burn.  Rebel Rags had these new tailgate chairs in powder blue with "Ole Miss" painted on them, and for Kyle they were a must have item.  On the way to the cash register he spotted the powder blue Ole Miss visor so he grabbed two of them.  To Kyle's surprise, the chairs were $34.99 and the visors were $35, EACH!  Chachang!!!

Our buddy Mike and his son made the trip from Wisconsin.  Mike is a die hard Rebel fan that buys season tickets, but can only make it to one or two games a year.  His son got a little too comfy in his chair.  The spousal unit started calling his name, "Brad, oh Brad....!"  He finally opened his eyes.  The spousal unit gave him the finger motion to come here.  His brain finally kicked in and up and over he went.  He was presented a field pass to enjoy the team sidelines during team warmups.  Brad's eyes nearing popped out of his head!  Thanks to nephew Justin (M Club member) for the passes!

There will always be a commotion in the stands.  In the middle of the Ole Miss Student section, there is the guy wearing an Alabama jersey, alongside his Ole Miss girly friend.  The students are giving him hell, and he is giving it right back.  He has both hands in the air with the middle finger fully extended.  By now he is being bombarded with empty cups and water bottles!  Security shows up to monitor the situation.  UPD is called in, and after a lengthy discussion, an Ole Miss student is escorted out!  It was not a good day to be a smart ass!

As the pregame was coming to an end, the student section was fired up and ready to go.  The band fired up for one more song, and in the middle of the students, out came the biggest State of Mississippi flag I had ever seen. What a nice sight to see.  Way to go students!

On our way to the parking lot, we were stopped by an Alabama couple.  "Sir, can you help us find our car?  We don't know where we are, but the car is at the corner of Washington and 5th streets.  I was not familiar with that location.  I pulled out my smartass phone, pulled up Google maps, typed in that intersection and bam! Up popped the location on the map.  I pulled back on the map and found University Avenue and and Jackson Ave for reference.  The lady did the same, and off they went.  All that Boy Scout training in my youth sure comes in handy!

We finally made it back to the car with all the gear.  Headed back to the Condo we go.  As we pull into the complex the phone rings.  It's our weekend guests, the inlaws.  Seems they are lost in the complex, they have been looking for building 34.  The spousal unit should have been an air traffic controller, as she guided them in, all the way to a parking spot at the front door!

Next weekend is another home game for the spousal unit and her Rebels.  I'm sure even more funnies await!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

New Game Day Traditions

Now that we have a Condo in that town up north (Oxford), I'm starting to get the feel for a whole new set of game day traditions.

You get up early to get your pregame setup going.  First stop is the gas station off Hwy 6 at North Lamar.  They have bulk ice, 20 lbs for 2 dollars.  It comes either bagged, or bulk into your cooler.

Unloading your car of the heavy stuff is a whole lot easier at 6:30-7:00 when there is very little activity.  The Eupora Peeps next to us are in for a rude awaking this morning.  Their usual space is one third of their usual spot.  Alabama game squatter dropped a quad set of tents in their chair sitting space!

A stop at the Kroger was full of activity.  The chips and beer guys were buzzing like worker bees, filling racks, loading the coolers and leaving pallets full in the aisles.

The local liquor store, next to one of the many Chevrons, has yard signs posting "we are now fully stocked with airplane bottles!", and expanded parking in the empty lot next door!

The last stop this early game day morning was Shipley donuts for hot and fresh for the Spousal unit!

Best part of Condo, game day, is waking up to the smell of a brisket cooking overnight in the oven.  And rotel dip with sausage will still be warm for the chafing dish when we get to the tent site.

These traditions will have a whole lot more added as the weeks go by.  And if we can just get here on Thursday or early Friday a time or two...

Are you ready???!!!  Almost!  TI me for a quick shower and a five minute ride to heaven!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Not So Funny Thing Happens on the Way Home

We have been on the road for hours, heading home from our trip to Orlando.  We're on I-10, about 20 miles east of Pensacola, cruising along, about to pass an 18 wheeler, when all of a sudden......

The dash board lit up with five sensor warnings.  The engine went from 1500 rpms to 5000!  What the hell???

The sensors were saying:  check engine light, emmisson system warning, transmission warning, blind spot warning, and no cruise control warning.  Dang!  Only 15,000 mIles on this sucker!

The spousal unit was driving at the time, looks at me, "do I pull over? Or keep going?"  The engine was still running, car was moving, at 5000 rpms, don't stop, phone calls were being made.

First call to Acura of Jackson:  "sorry, we're short on service technicians today, one moment please.  Service tech:  with what you are saying, we would need to hook it up to the diagnostic machine to determine what is wrong.  I guess you can pull over, kill the engine and try again."

At this moment I don't think I said "bull shit" but I sure thought it, and then some.  Next call was to the salesman to see what our options for getting home would be.  More of the same, "I'm on my cell phone and can't transfer to the service department".  Sorry we've been there, done that!

My Boy Scout training then went into high gear.  Smartazz phone here we come.  Internet search for the nearest Acura dealership.  It's now 3:30, hopefully there is one that will be open when we get there and they can do the diagnostics!  Ah, Joe Bullard Acura, Mobile, AL here we come!

A call to Joe Bullard.   We explained our situation, about an hour away according to Google maps. Their service technicians usually shut down at 5:00 each day. They say, "bring it in, we will have a tech here waiting for you."  Yes!!!

We make it to Joe Bullard Acura.  There are three cars in the service assessment area already, now 4:30, oh boy.  We explain who we are, and our issues, and we called ahead for advice.  The service manager hears our name, and he is "Johnny on the spot".  He barks "send that car to diagnostics immediately,  and do not turn off the engine!"  I'm  liking the sound of that already!

They confirm that 5 sensors have gone waco.  The transmission is not communicating.   There are two computers under the hood, one is easy, the other is inside the transmission,  not so easy.

An hour and a half later:  we need to do a full diagnostic run.  The error messages have never been seen on this model by Acura before.  We will get you some transportation to get home.  Major relief, especially since we had two other passengers with us!

There were no SUVS available at the local Hertz.  All their loaner cars were out.   They gave us the keys to another MDX that they were using off the used car lot, with less than 7000 miles.  Joe Bullard Acura, you are the bomb!

When our car is ready, I will have to return their car to pick up ours.  No big deal.  Somebody is gonna get some cheese straws as a big thank you on the return trip.

If you live in the Mobile area and are looking for a car in the near future, check out the Joe Bullard dealerships along I-65.  I don't know about their sales departments, but their service is top knotch!